Geneva Norman is the “Geneva” in the Geneva Convention Band. She comes from a very musical family of which the most notables are music funk icon Robert “Kool” Bell of Kool and the Gang and blues and R&B great Betty Wright. The classical composer, Dr. Leslie Adams is also a cousin. She says, “My mother had me singing before I could walk.” She wrote her first song at the age of six which won her school’s composing competition that year.
Geneva studied classical piano and music theory in her early years at the Cleveland Institute of Music and privately under several well known teachers. However, it wasn’t until coming to Chicago and meeting the blues department at The Old Town School of Folk Music that her love affair with the blues began. “I learned to love the blues when I actually had the blues”. The loss of her younger and only sister to cancer left her devastated. She said, “I was so sad and so lost when my sister died I wasn’t sure that I would ever recover.” “The blues helped me express my pain and I’ve loved it ever since.” She still considers herself a student of the blues even though she has played in Baltimore, MD, Cleveland and Columbus Ohio, Clarksdale,MS, Anchorage, AK, Paris, France, Ghana, W. Africa and a number of other places in the US and abroad.
She met lead guitarist Dan Rice at OTSFM but work responsibilities prevented a complete connection. Eight years later “Brother Dan” resurfaced along with lead guitarist Pete Hodes, “Sweet Pete” and the seeds to the current rendition of The Geneva Convention Band were sown. Next on the scene was Harp player extraordinaire, Steve Quinn aka “Q”. Today, bass guitarist, Dan Kobylarcyk (Thumperoni) and Eric Fiske (Tenderoni) on drums hold down the rhythm section.
While Geneva sings jazz, gospel,classical and R&B. She says, I feel like Muddy Waters did about this music. “The blues suits me.”
Dan has been playing blues,folk and rock for over 40 years. He was the lead guitarist for the renowned Chicago band Poor Richard’s Almanac in the early 70’s, where they toured the area with bands- The Maude’s, The Buckingham’s, Four Days and a Night and TR6 (aka.Chicago Transit Authority aka. Chicago). He has played with such greats as Brian Wilson, Chris Walters,Steve Hutchins and Harlan Terson and continues to find new players in which to play with.
Dan along with Geneva and Pete are founding members of the Chicago based “Geneva Convention Band”. He has deep roots in both rock and blues and is dedicated to keeping the Chicago based “blues” alive and growing.
Steve “Q” Quinn:
Steve Quinn aka “Q” picked up his first harp around 1976. Mostly self-taught, Q’s style of playing is a little back-porch and a little gin-soaked. His harp idols range from modern players like Kim Wilson, Rick Estrin, Charlie Musselwhite, Joe Felisko, Corky Siegel and Billy Branch to the pioneers who invented the form like Sonny Terry, Sonny Boys I & II and Big Walter.
Q has played with a variety of bands on a variety of stages in Chicago and the East Coast. Though his first gig – at 14 yrs old, playing Sweet Home Chicago with Corky Siegel, in a club that was a curling rink by day and music club by night – still ranks among his favorites.
Peter “Sweet Pete” Hodes:
Brooklyn–born Peter Hodes began studying jazz guitar at the age of 12, then switched to double bass.
After witnessing Johnny Winter perform with the Allman Brothers at the Fillmore East, Peter renewed his love affair with the guitar and became an avid collector of vintage guitars and amps.
Peter has performed with R&B and Blues bands all around Chicago, with his former gig as lead guitarist for the rock and blues band Eversojake. This was an exciting time in Peter’s career touring the United States and Europe.
Now as a founding member of the Geneva Convention Peter brings his mastery of blues-based guitar to every Geneva Convention show.
Eric has been playing the drums for more than ten years. He has been involved with many bands of all different genres such as Rock, R&B, Jazz, Funk, and Latin. After learning to play guitar, bass, piano, and now trumpet, he has become proficient across many different instruments gaining him a better understanding of the music itself. His most recent appearance was at the throne of the drums for the band “Exit 81” a progressive rock band that played in the one of the most notorious clubs in the city, The House of Blues. He graduated from Columbia College where he studied the art of playing the drums under none other than Frankie Donaldson the former drummer to Ramsey Lewis’ band. And now he has added the Blues to his repertoire as the newest member and drummer to the Geneva Convention.
Dan has been playing bass for more than 10 years, but is a recent convert to the blues. After kicking around a few garage bands, he trained at the Old Town School of Folk Music with Harlan Terson, and has been playing with the Geneva Convention for about a year.